The Losesota Twins, I mean the Winlessota Stinkies, I mean the Minnesota Twins first week of the 2016 season didn’t go the way as planned in the standings and at the plate. Dead last to be a matter of fact with a 0-7 record and the worst team performance in runs, runs batted in, batting average with runner in scoring position and strikeouts.
It might be a little déjà vu for Twins fans (like former sports editor Travis Jones and his witty word plays I borrowed above) who witnessed a 1-6 start to the season last year and a season-opening sweep away at the Detroit Tigers. Even with the slow start, the team rebounded to 30-19 record at the end of May. Minnesota even finished with a surprisingly competitive challenge for the last wild card spot last year.
Coming into this year, 2016 looked promising with the signing two-time Korea Baseball League MVP Byung Ho-Park, a relatively successful spring training and a healthy team.
Seven games in and the Twins are swinging and missing with the best of them, leading the Major League Baseball with 79 strikeouts. Ho-Park apparently forgot to bring his bat over from South Korea, as he’s batting .143 with 12 strikeouts in 21 plate appearances. Slugger Miguel Sano was looking to continue his blistering batting performance to end the last year, but he’s batting .135 with 13 strikeouts in 22 at-bats.
Trevor Plouffe’s six strikeouts in 23 at-bats doesn’t look terrible, but his .174 batting average sure does. Those three were supposed to make up the heart of the Twins lineup, but they’ve produced 2 homeruns and 3 RBI combined. Byron Buxton is in that ballpark too with a .182 average and 11 strikeouts in 22 appearances.
That’s just not going to get the job done, but should the sky really be falling? Baseball’s ridiculously long season says no way with over 150 games left under October. According to MLB.com, no team has made the playoffs after starting 0-7, but there are a ton of times during an MLB season where a team goes into an extended slump.
For the Twins, that slump happened to be the first seven games of the season. Hey, at least the pitching’s not unbearable.
A few adjustments, patience at the plate and some luck can turn this ship around. All we ask is for the Twins to be playoff relevant come September.